Matilda Barkley Sause, who assisted her husband in a construction business that helped build Baltimore-Washington International Airport and the Bay Bridge, died Thursday at the Edenwald residential facility in Towson. The former Chester resident was 97.
Her son, retired Circuit Judge John W. Sause Jr. of Centreville, said she had not been sick, but "just wore out."
Born in Baltimore, Matilda Barkley was the second of four sisters and graduated from Western High School, her son said. Her father, a railroad employee, married late in life and had already retired before she was born.
In 1933, she married J. William Sause, who died shortly after their 50th wedding anniversary in 1983.
As a mother, Mrs. Sause was "very old-fashioned," her son said. She believed in the saying, "Idle hands make idle thoughts" and sent her son to work in a law office when he was 14 years old.
She was active in the PTA at her children's school, a garden club and the League of Women Voters, her son said.
Mrs. Sause worked for several years at the Quimby Inn, a restaurant on Cathedral Street. Later, she was the head of the restaurant department at Hutzler's department store, supervising the opening of its luncheonette.
For many years, Mrs. Sause assisted in the operation of her husband's contracting business, which was involved in a number of large projects on the Eastern seaboard. Among them were construction of Friendship Airport, now BWI; the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge, commonly known as the Bay Bridge; and sections of U.S. 50 and U.S. 301.
She was primarily responsible for office work, her son said.
In 1955, the Sauses moved to White's Heritage in Chester. There, Mrs. Sause did extensive entertaining, her son said.
"Everybody coming home from Ocean City wanted to stop and see us," her son said.
The Sauses went on to develop Piney-Narrows Marina in Chester and the adjacent residential condominiums, to which they moved in the mid-1970s.
After her husband's death, Mrs. Sause moved to Edenwald, where she served as volunteer director of the residents store.
"My mother was on the go all the time," her son said. "She was very good to other people. ... Anyone who was sick gravitated to Mother. Mother took care of them."
A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. today at Druid Ridge Cemetery, 7900 Park Heights Ave.
In addition to her son, she is survived by a daughter, Gretchen S. Redden of Baltimore, and a grandson.